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Discourse to Farmer Bharadvaja – Kasi Bharadvaja Sutta

On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Dakkhinagiri monastery in Ekanala Brahmin village. The blessed One was awaiting the maturity of farmer Bharadvaja’s senses. Bharadvaja was a reputed Brahmin family. However, this Brahmin lived on farming.

It was the Vap Mangul – ploughing festival day. After performing religious rites the Brahmin was making arrangements to feed his fellow Brahmins. Brahmin and his wife Brahmini were busy there.

On this occasion the Blessed One came to that place and stood within the sight of the Brahmin emanating rays from his body.  After meals people flocked to see the Blessed One. A discussion took place between the Buddha and the Brahmin who came there. After the discussion the Blessed One expounded the Kasi Bharadvaja Sutta.

Thus have I heard: On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Dhakkhinagiri monastery in the Brahmin village in Magadha.  It was the sowing season and Brhmin Kasi-Bharadvaja and made arrangements to use five hundred ploughs in his field on the Vap festive day. In the forenoon on that day the Blessed One having dressed Himself took his bowl and robes and went to the place of work of Kasi Bharadvaja. At that time Kasi Bharadvaja was serving meals to the people. The Blessed One drew near to the place where food was being served and stood at one side. Then Brahmin Kasi Bharadvaja having seen the Blessed One standing for alms  said to Him “O recluse I plough the field , sow the seeds and by doing so I eat. Then the Blessed One said “I too Brahmin plough, sow and then eat.

“We do not see venerable Gautama’s yoke, plough, coulter, goads or buffaloes and yet He says that He ploughs, sows and then eats.”

There upon, Kasi Bharadvaja addressed the Blessed One in a stanza,

  1. 01. “You profess that you are a ploughman but we do not see your agricultural   implements. We ask you about your plough and other implements.  Will you please tell us that we may know about them?”

02. “Faith is my seed; religious austerity is rain for me. Wisdom is my plough and yoke. Humbleness or modesty is the head of my plough, mind is the strap and mindfulness is the coulter of my plough and goad.”

03. “My speech is controlled. I restraint my conduct.  I am moderate in food. Truth is my way of weeding. Restrain or gentleness is my deliverance or emancipation.”

04. “Strenuous endeavour or effort which draws me close to Nibbana’s security and which is continuous and which does not take me any where to suffer is my yoke used to pull the load.”

05. “Thus I have done the ploughing which is fruitful, making me free of evil and drawing me to Deathlessness which is Nibbana.”

There upon Brahmin Kasi Bharadvaja filled a golden bowl with milk rice and offered it to the Blessed One saying “Venerable Gautama, please accept this bowl of milk rice. Venerable Sir, you are indeed a great ploughman who ploughs for the fruit of deathlessness – Nibbana.

The Blessed One in response said “O Brahmin, Tathagatas (Buddhas) do not accept food offered after reciting verses. It is not the tradition of those who practice the right livelihood.  Hence I do not eat this milk rice received for reciting verses. “This is the conduct of Buddhas as long as Dhamma reigns.”

“To the Buddha who is a well disciplined great sage, who has subdued passions you may offer some other food. This is the best that can be done by merit seeking men.” “Then Venerable Gautama to whom this milk rice could be served?”

 “Brahmin, in the worlds of Devas, Maras, and Brahmas or among the generations of   recluses , Brahmins, deities and humans there is no one by whom this milk rice, if eaten, could be wholly digested except by Tathagata (The Buddha) or the disciple of a Tathagata. Hence, put this milk rice in a place where there is no grass or dump them in the water where there are no living beings.”

     Thereupon, the Brahmin threw the milk rice to the water where there were no living   beings. Then the milk rice started steaming and smoking making the sound cecehita, citicita which was similar to the sound emanated when the furrow made by the plough heated during the day is watered.

There upon Brahmin Kasibharadvaja was alarmed with hair standing on end.  He came close to the Buddha and fell down with his head on the Buddha’s feet.  He said, “Venerable sir, your teaching is excellent. You have revealed everything. It is like turning upright something which had been overturned. It is like bringing an oil lamp into the darkness so that those with eyes can see the objects in the vicinity. Dhamma has been expounded by the Tathagata in various ways.  I take refuge in the Blessed One (Buddha), His doctrine (Dhamma) and His disciples (Sangha). I wish to receive the novice’s ordination (Pabbajja) and the Higher Ordination (Upasampada) from the Enlightened One. Venerable Kasi Bharadvaja who lived alone and away from others tried hard diligently, strenuously and resolutely and before long with his own insight realized the Truth and attained Arahantship.  For the sake of Noble life he went away from home and lived a homeless life. He put an end to birth. He did what had to be done and there was nothing left for him to do. There is no more of this state. Venerable Kasi Bharadvaja later attained Arahantship.

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